Athletes have been complaining about the organization at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, and more specifically, about the freezing conditions and quarantine rules. While China promised the event would be streamlined, safe, and splendid, it seems the reality is rather different.
Athletes Have Complained About Dismal Training & Living Conditions
Some participants in the Winter Olympics stated that they were living and training in dismal conditions. After Swedish athlete Frida Karlsson was seen close to collapse and shaking at the end of her run at the women’s skiathlon, the Swedish delegation demanded that cross-country skiing events be held earlier to protect athletes from the freezing temperatures. While temperatures were measured to be -13°C, with -20°C being the lower limit, the leader of the Swedish team claims that they were closer to -31°C with wind chill taken into account.
Issues With Food
Russian biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova had her own problems with the organization of the Winter Olympics, particularly with the food. She expressed her frustration with the food she was given while in isolation, posting a picture of a food tray on Instagram with the comment that breakfast, lunch, and dinner were the same for the previous five days. The image of the meal shows plain pasta, charred meat on a bone, potatoes, and no vegetables.
While many of the claims remain unverified, Kit McConnell, the International Olympics Committee sports director, has stated that the conditions of athletes were top priority to the organization, and they were taking steps to address the challenging, individual circumstances.
Meanwhile, some have praised China’s determined efforts to ensure safety at the games, pointing out the deep-cleaning of sleep pods when they switch users, regular disinfecting, and the deployment of robots for food preparation and distribution. Still, there is much confusion among athletes about the rules of isolation and the different measures the Chinese are taking. Belgian skeleton racer Kim Meylemans for one has posted a tearful account on her Instagram page, stating that she had been moved from one isolation facility to another and was not even sure if she would be allowed to return to the Olympic village.
The Most Iconic Female Athletes Of The Century
When people think of athletes, it’s often males that come to mind first: there’s no denying that male dominated sports are the much bigger half of the sports entertainment industry. However, this has the very troubling effect of drawing attention away from the incredible female athletes that walk the Earth. That’s why we’ll be using this article to talk about the most iconic female athletes of the century.
Initially, Nastia Liukin tied the record for most medals won in by an American gymnast in a single Olympic Games, though Simone Biles would eventually tie that record as well. Speaking of which, that record is six.
She’s also a four time all-around US national champion. She tried to come back for the 2012 Olympics, but didn’t quite make the cut, and she retired instead. Now, she supports an annual Cup to support gymnastics.
Alex Morgan is the co-captain for the United States Women’s soccer team, and she’s won two consecutive FIFA World Cups. She’s also the second American woman to score 20 goals and 20 assists in the same calendar year, as well as being the youngest US player to score 20 goals in a single year.
All of that being said, what more really is there to say? She’s representative of just how great a woman in soccer can be, performing to a level that is just as impressive as any man.
Professional tennis player, and only Russian to have a career Grand Slam: that’s Maria Sharapova. She was ranked number one in the world when she was just 18, and was the only Russian to accomplish that.
Sharapova has many wins under her belt, including 36 singles titles and five Grand Slam titles, making her one of the best tennis players out there. Her record is only behind Serena and Venus Williams.
What’s interesting about Tonya Harding is that she has a very odd combination of experience. She was a figure skater and a professional boxer, as well as a TV personality.
But as far as her skating medals were concerned, she had a very impressive record: five golds, four silvers, and many others besides. This makes her a top contender for most iconic female skater, though her image is somewhat marred by a certain fiasco that took place in 1994.
One of the only two female skiers in the world to win four World Cup overall championships, Lindsey Vonn won three consecutive titles from 2008 to 2010 and yet another one in 2012. On top of that, she was the first American woman to win a gold medal in the downhill.
Needless to say, this makes her one of the most iconic female athletes in the world, through the merit of her achievements in skiing if nothing else.
Aly Raisman holds the distinction of being a two-time Olympic gymnast. She took home a number of medals in both 2012 and 2016. More notably however, she has become a very powerful advocate for preventing sexual abuse. She was one of the 1oo gymnasts that came forward to speak out against Larry Nassar.
By doing that, Aly Raisman sets an example: not only can a woman perform to truly great degrees, but there is no shame in confronting someone who has wronged you.
Lipinski has a pretty impressive record of being a figure skater, sports commentator and actress. But we’re mostly concerned with her skating record. She was a tough competitor in ladies’ singles, being the 1998 Olympic champion, the 1997 world champion, a two time Champions Series Final champion, and even the 1997 U.S. national champion.
Until 2019, she was the youngest skater to win an Olympic gold medal, but she is still the youngest woman to complete a triple loop-triple loop combination in a competition.
Wilma Rudolph is extremely notable due to being the first African American woman to win three gold medals in the Olympics. It was even more notable because she had lost strength in her leg due to Polio at the age of five.
She also became the fastest woman in the world in 1960. Gaining worldwide coverage during those Olympics, Rudolph became an icon for women and dark-skinned athletes all over the world.
Florence Griffith Joyner
What is there to say about the icon status of Joyner? She’s the fastest woman of all time! She may have set the records for the 100 meter and the 200 meter back in 1988, but those records have yet to be broken. Of course, it’s hard to say anything else, because that’s her claim to fame.
But hey, when you have a claim to fame that outstanding, do you even need anything else? Personally, we feel that you really don’t.
Rapinoe is a symbol in both sports and the political stage, as she often uses her prominence to speak on matters that she values, such as LGBTQ rights and social injustice.
As an athlete, she helped the US win its second consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup championship in 2019, and was on a number of teams that won gold medals at the Olympics.
Shawn Johnson is one of the best American gymnasts to perform in the Olympics, being a balance beam gold medalist and team, all-around and floor exercise silver medalist in 2008. She also won titles in the all-around, uneven bars, and balance beam in 2007.
Based on all of that performance we just talked about, Johnson has the distinction of having one of the best rookie seasons recorded in the history of gymnastics. Needless to say, that’s pretty impressive.
Kerri Walsh Jennings
Along with Misty May-Treanor, she and Kerri Walsh Jennings are considered to be the best beach volleyball team of all time, likely due to the accolades we mentioned while discussing Jennings’ partner before now.
However, there is one thing Jennings has that is hers alone, since she continued playing even after Treanor retired. Jennings is the most decorated beach volleyball player in history, gender notwithstanding.
Billie Jean King
King is regarded one of the best female tennis players to ever live, formerly being number one in the whole world. She won a total of 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles.
More than that though, she fought for women’s equality in sports in a time when that wasn’t necessarily a given. She fought especially hard for equal pay, and was the first female athlete to earn over $100,000 in prize money.
While a controversial figure to some, Ronda Rousey is undoubtedly an icon in women’s martial arts. She’s the only woman to win a WWE and UFC championship, and one of the only women to be the headline of a pay-per-view event.
She was also the first woman to win a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics. Rousey is also the first female fighter to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Needless to say, that many accomplishments make her a sports icon.
Oddly, one of Sue Bird’s distinctions is the fact that she is the oldest player of the WNBA. Well, she’s also considered to be one of the best players in the WNBA’s history, so there’s that too.
That may be because she’s won a joint-record four WNBA championships, four Olympic gold medals, two NCAA Championships with UConn, and four FIBA World Cups. You don’t get all that without being pretty darn good!
What makes Comaneci so important is that she is credited with bringing gymnastics to the world stage. Few people paid attention to the sport before she competed in 1976. She won a total of five gold medals in Romania in individual events and was also the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 score.
Outside of that, she won a whopping nine Olympic medals and four World Artistic Gymnastics Championship medals. It’s not hard to see why she’s considered an iconic female athlete.
Mia Hamm’s claim to fame is being a member of the USWNT from 1987-2004, as well as being a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion. She was also a member of the Tar Heels when they won four consecutive NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championships.
Perhaps more notable is her rank of number three in USWNT history thanks to 276 international caps and first in career assists at 144. On top of that, she was the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame.
Admittedly, there’s not much to say about Misty May-Treanor that doesn’t involve her teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings, as her performance was mostly in tandem with her. Still, that doesn’t diminish her contribution to female athleticism.
Together with Jennings, she won three consecutive Olympic gold medals between 2004 and 2012. They also won 21 consecutive Olympic matches together, and only lost one set in their eleven years of playing together.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist, but even more importantly, Abby Wambach is the highest all-time goal scorer for the US women’s national soccer team. She also holds the impressive record for international goals among all genders of players with 184 goals.
With a distinction like that, there’s not much else we need to say about what makes her an icon in the world of sports.
Danica Patrick holds a particular distinction, that being that she is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing. She’s first (and only!) woman to win an IndyCar Series race, which happened at the 2008 Indy Japan 300.
On top of that, she also has the highest finish by a woman in the Indianapolis 500 at third place and the Daytona 500 at eight place. While not as successful as some people wanted, her high level of performance in a male-dominated sport inspired many others.
Lexi Thompson has the distinction of being the youngest golfer to qualify to play in the US Women’s Open, at a ridiculously young age of twelve. She went professional at the ripe age of fifteen, also startlingly young. At sixteen, she became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA tournament.
Needless to say, having all of those distinctions related to her age makes her a pretty iconic figure in the world of women’s sports, which can’t really be debated by anyone, anywhere.
We probably don’t need to tell anyone about Simone Biles, but we will anyway. She won the individual all-around, vault, and floor gold medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Despite her young age, she is a four time World all-around champion.
She’s also the most decorated American gymnast in history, and many consider her to be one of the best gymnasts of all time. For a reason such as that, any list discussing iconic female athletes would be incomplete without her.
One of the few swimmers on our list, Amanda Beard has a number of Olympic medals under her belt, with that total being seven: two gold, four silver, and one bronze. While she has since been surpassed, she was the former world record holder for the 200 meter backstroke.
Also of note is the fact that she won the American Swimmer of the Year Award twice. With those aforementioned Olympic medals included, she has won a total of twenty-one medals.
Mary Lou Retton
It may have been at the boycotted 1984 Olympics, but nevertheless, Retton became the first American woman to claim the all-around gold medal in gymnastics. During those Olympics, she also brought home two silvers and two bronze medals.
She developed her own special move during those Olympics as well, but it was later banned for being a belly beat move, which involves the gymnast hitting the low bar with their hips.
How iconic is Serena Williams? Well, she’s considered one of, if not the, best female tennis players of the open era. She has the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined as far as all active players are concerned. She’s also tied for third on the all-time list.
By being such a titanic force in tennis, she’s become a role model and icon for athletes and girls all over the world, and you can’t get much more iconic than that.
Being a five-time World Champion and nine-time US champion, Michelle Kwan has a special distinction, that being that she is tied for the all-time National Championship record. She’s also a two-time Olympic medalist, though neither of them was gold.
All of that makes her one of the most decorated figure skaters in US history, and she is often considered to be one of the best figure skaters of all time.
The sister of Serena Williams, Venus Williams is likewise considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She has the distinction of being the first African American woman to be ranked Number one by the Women’s Tennis Association in the Open Era, and second all-time.
She also has seven Grand Slam titles. You know, it’s kind of crazy to think that two sisters would both grow up to become such immensely skilled players in one sport, isn’t it?
Maya Moore has a unique career highlight, that being her time with the Huskies, in which they had an unbeaten streak of 90 games, the NCAA’s record among men’s and women’s teams. Moore has also won four WNBA titles, and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award.
She’s also won titles in a number of leagues around the world, further increasing the level of her reputation in the field of women’s athletics.
Sheryl Swoopes gets the special distinction of being the first player to be signed in the WNBA and a three-time WNBA MVP. She has also won three Olympic Gold medals, and has been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Simply for being the first woman to be signed into the WBNA, she has a special place among female athletes, as she was the first to break the mold in what had once been a predominantly male sport.
Witt ended up winning two gold medals at the Olympics for Eat Germany, but she’s also a four-time world champion and a two-time world silver medalist. She also won six consecutive European Championships, something only accomplished by one other female skater.
Winning ten gold medals between 1984 and 1988 in a variety of official tournaments and championships, Witt is one of the most decorated skaters of all time.